Investment Legalizations in Colombia
How do you make sure you're taking the steps you need to take to qualify for a visa with the money you're investing in this country?
There are three main topics of interest for legalizing investments in Colombia:
Five Steps to Legalizing Investments in Colombia:
2. Organize supporting documents showing your investment in Colombia and the origin of funds.
3. Initiate a wire transfer to Colombia from a foreign bank.
4. Complete the federal bank investment registration forms. Supply supporting documents to the Colombian financial institution receiving the wire (your bank or investment bank).
5. Obtain certification from the federal bank verifying correct registration of your investment. (This step is often skipped, but it is a very important step. It’s easier to correct errors now than later.)
Banks in Colombia Want Transparency
In general, you will need many of the same documents to legalize an investment as you would need if you were going to open a bank account in Colombia.
If the money you're sending is coming from a third party, the Colombian bank will ask for certified documents that show how the money is connected to you. Third-party transfers raise a red flag about illegal activity, and the burden to prove the legitimacy of the money and your intentions will be on you. Still, most third-party wire transfers are denied for personal investments.
Did you know it's not considered an investment if the money comes from a third party? Sometimes this situation arises when buying a home: the buyers want to purchase the property in their name, but they send the money from an account in a company name. This will not qualify the buyer for a Colombia investor's visa.
Making a Direct Foreign Investment in Colombia
If you want to make a direct foreign investment in Colombia, you need to consider your tax status in this country. If you are a tax resident (that is, if you were present in Colombia for 183 days in a 12-month period), then you are not a foreign investor. Even if you consider yourself a tourist and do not have Colombian residency, you are still considered a tax resident by DIAN if you are here for 183 days of the year.
Keep in mind that immigration keeps a different calendar than DIAN does. The immigration year runs from January 1 to December 31. The DIAN (tax) year is any 12-month period.
No Colombian Visa: No Problem
You can still begin the process of investing and even opening a bank account in Colombia without a visa if you take the right steps. Certain investment banks in Colombia will facilitate the process by allowing you to open an account with a foreign passport. By doing this, you get a personal investment banker, which is helpful while navigating the world of banking in Colombia.
Keep in mind that although such accounts do not require your presence in Colombia, you will still need to provide an in-depth explanation of your intention for the funds.
Meanwhile, you should begin the process of obtaining an appropriate Colombian visa as soon as possible. We can help you determine which visa is the best fit for you.
How We Can Help:
We've helped hundreds of foreigners set up Colombian corporations, buy property, and invest in existing Colombian businesses according to their needs and the visa they want to apply for. Whether you're negotiating a price, preparing for a wire transfer, drafting a contract, or paying your taxes, there are rules and regulations you want to make sure you're following. That's what our team of Colombian accountants, lawyers, and assistants is here for.